HOUSTON, Feb. 13, 2006 – The NBA, the National Basketball Players Association and TNT will join forces to help change the lives of two families during NBA All-Star 2006. The group will work with Habitat for Humanity to construct two houses as part of the NBA Cares Community Caravan that will take place in Houston Feb. 13-19.

Habitat volunteers and members of the NBA Family will build the first house on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Upon completion, the house will remain on display at the Houston Center Gardens outside of NBA All-Star Jam Session, which will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center. At the end of NBA All-Star, the home will be relocated to its permanent location and the keys will be given to the partner family that is buying the home, Christopher and Leslie Watson and their two-year old son Christopher, Jr.

Prior to the NBA All-Star game on Sunday, Feb. 19, NBA players, Legends, members of the TNT broadcast team, celebrities and NBA and NBPA staff will frame a second house whose interior and exterior wall components will be shipped to a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the Gulf region, where it will be reassembled and completed in partnership with a family that lost their home during the 2005 hurricanes.

“Habitat for Humanity has a well-documented history of helping families in need and was quick to react to the devastation of the recent hurricanes,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “NBA players, with the help of our partners, will have a lasting impact on families in both Houston and the Gulf region by providing what they need most, a home.”

“When the Players Association launched “Operation Rebound” in the aftermath of Katrina, the players envisioned a sustained commitment towards both the relief and reconstruction efforts,” according to NBPA Executive Director William Hunter. “Our executive committee, our players reps and our entire membership are thrilled that ‘Habitat for Humanity’ provides a means to follow through with our long-term goals to help people rebuild their lives.”

“TNT is pleased to partner with the NBA and the Player's Association to take part in this important project,” said David Levy, Turner Sports president. “Efforts like this one, as well as the Hurricane Relief Game we aired in September, help spread the word that the after-effects from the devastation from Katrina have still left many Americans displaced.”

“The need in the Gulf region is so dramatic, that it requires a dramatic response such as the one the NBA, the players and TNT are helping make possible,” said Mark Crozet, Habitat for Humanity International’s senior vice president for resource development. “These homes will change lives, not only for the families who will live in them, but for the people who help build them and make their construction possible as well.”

“The Watsons are hard-working Houstonians for whom traditional venues of home ownership are outside their reach. Like many metropolitan areas around the country, one in 10 working families in Houston live in substandard housing. We are most grateful to the NBA, the NBPA and TNT for joining with us to address the existing need in our community as well as the immediate housing need that arose from a national crisis.” said Larry Payne, president of Houston Habitat for Humanity.

The NBA Family and TNT will work alongside the Watson family from Houston as they fulfill Houston Habitat for Humanity’s requirement to contribute a minimum of 300 hours of “sweat equity” by helping build their own homes and the homes of their neighbors in lieu of a down payment. The Watsons will also attend the 55th NBA All-Star game on Sunday.

Following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, Habitat for Humanity launched Operation Home Delivery to get the hardest-hit Habitat affiliates in the affected areas back on their feet and prepared to build houses in their communities. This served as a catalyst for other organizations, corporations, foundations, governments and individuals to come together to talk about low-income housing on a scale Habitat alone cannot accomplish and finally helped implement a house-building project.

The combined relief efforts of the NBA family, which includes individual players, the National Basketball Players Association and Women’s National Basketball Players Association, individual owners, teams and both the NBA and WNBA league offices, has exceeded $12 million to date, and efforts will continue throughout the season to donate money and provide assistance.

Operation Rebound brings together the forces of the National Basketball Players Association and the NBA with Feed The Children's years of disaster relief experience and the organization's strategic vision to help. By working together, Feed The Children and the NBPA will be able to reach out to even more of the children and families whose lives have been turned upside down by the Gulf Coast hurricanes.

During NBA All-Star 2006, the NBA Cares Caravan will feature a full schedule of events beginning on Feb. 13, 2006, including reading rallies, fitness clinics, hospital visits, the unveiling of one of the first 100 Learn & Play Centers and a newly refurbished basketball court.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than one million people. www.habitat.org.

About Houston Habitat for Humanity
Since its inception in 1987, Houston Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing in the Greater Houston area by helping low-income families earn and own safe, affordable, decent homes. Houston Habitat for Humanity has been responsible for the completion of more than 500 local homes.

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